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Shorter Book Reviews 119 Adolph Zukor, Marcus Leow and William Fox, who transformed American film from a primitive entertainment into an opulent extravaganza for the masses, thousands of anonymous Jewish peddlers lent new meaning to streetcorner emporia. Heinze shows how the film moguls not only adopted American modes of consumption, but also extended them, facilitating the efforts of many young Jewish singers, actors, directors and producers. The nameless peddlers, meanwhile, though unfamiliar with American mores, became heralds of potential cornucopia, in their own eyes and for waves of newcomers who followed. Heinze's depiction of the Lower East Side is far more benign than many scholarly treatments. In emphasizing characteristics that enabled Jews from Rumania, Galicia, Poland and Russia to "make it" in America, he embraces the values of consensus--in which aspirations for advancement crowd out reminders of the difficulties of getting there and the downward mobility of those who did not succeed. There is little angstin this story, little divisiveness, little anti-Semitism, little attention accorded Jewish crime and the Jewish underworld, and--aside from some tentative comparisons--little sense of class and ethnic conflict. A friend, a Jew from Brooklyn with strong leftist views, suggested that Heinze's book should be retitled "The Jews Go to the Toy Store." That judgment is too harsh. But, its insights notwithstanding, Heinze's book seems to address the values of our own materialistic era more than the period it purports to examine. GeoffreyS. Smith Department of History Queen's University Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris, eds. Encyclopediaof Southern Culture.Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989.xxi + 1634pp. A necessary addition to the library of anyone interested in the American South, the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture provides a comprehensive overview of the contemporary and historical worlds of Southern culture. Adopting a broad view of the South, this 1600-page inter-disciplinary reference book attempts to study within the Southern context "all the characteristic activities and interests of a people" (xvi). 120 Shorter Book Reviews Twenty-four sections comprise the work. An overview essay opens each section and alphabetically arranged thematic articles and short biographical sketches follow. Topics include agricult~e, music, history and manners, folk life and the mythic South. Entries vary from the boll weevil and tobacco to the black codes, the Lost Cause and Vivien Leigh. Some, though, fail to meet the editors' commitment to examine distinctive elements of Southern society. Did the Korean War, company towns and trucking indeed further the development of a culture distinct from other regions? Even more puzzlingare entries on pets and football star Hershel Walker. A seeminglyhaphazard approach to the length of each article suggests a lapse in editorial control. Any time hundreds of scholars collaborate on a work of this magnitude incongruities are bound to appear. In this volume, however, a discussion of pets, complete with picture of a boy and his dog, occupies one-and-a-half pages, while cotton culture takes up less than twothirds the space. And, despite an expressed intention to provide the reader with easy access to information, the encyclopedia proves difficult to use. Division of the book into twenty-four parts creates artificial separations requiring extensive cross-referencing and endless flipping of pages. An examinationof a singletopic can occur in more than five different places. To learn more about cotton, for instance, the reader must consult sections dealing with agriculture, environment, industry, and science and medicine. This organizational structure provides numerous perspectives and a more comprehensive discussion of a topic, but without use of the index, information is nearly impossible to find. The encyclopedia's greatest weakness lies in its treatment of blacks and women. Although the work includes considerable material on these groups, the editors place much of the information in two separate chapters and do not integrate it into the thematic structure of the book. Should one infer that the contribution of women and blacks to the development of Southern culture is of secondary importance? Articles dealing with literature, music and art seldom mention blacks. Women's contributions to education, politics and religion appear in a women's life section rather than in chapters devoted to these topics. This structure needlessly...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 119-121
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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